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Events are more than Entertainment

Events are more than Entertainment
March 22, 2022 Nicole

The Greater Freeport Partnership hosts seven major tourism events (Pretzel Fest, Music on Chicago x3, Pretzel City Winefest, Cruise Night, Pretzel City Brewfest) as well as many other shopping and entertainment events each year. In addition, the staff also plan and host at least two business networking events (Business After Hours and Rise N’ Shine) each month plus the annual golf outing and annual dinner. With so much time and energy dedicated to these events, it is important to ask why these events are necessary to the mission of the Partnership. 

While each event has its own unique goal and audience, the answer can be generally straightforward. People enjoy having the option of things to do! A 2020 article by ThriveGlobal details the necessity for events for better quality of life, to build relationships with others, foster inspiration and creativity in the community, and improve mental health. Economically, we also know that events increase foot traffic in the area, build awareness for nearby stores and businesses and recognize philanthropy and community-minded efforts in our local businesses.  

And if the first shopping event of the year is any indication, our community is ready for things to do! Arctic Ale & Art Walk was hosted in Downtown Freeport on Saturday, March 5 with 17 participating locations. The event invited artists to set up displays in local shops and businesses had the opportunity to pour samples of ale to those who were browsing during a Freeport Festival District Day. Since the event was free to attendees, our metrics are defined by our geofencing software in the area. On Saturday March 5, there were 1,000 more visitors in Downtown Freeport than previous weekends in February or other weekends so far in March. One may argue that not all of these visitors participated in the event – which is true. However, something brought an unusually large number of additional people downtown on that day. 

The Partnership is not the only community organization who believes in the power of great events. We proudly support efforts by organizations such as the Freeport Art Museum, Eats & Beats, Stephenson County Farmer’s Market, and many others who find value in bringing people together as well. Even smaller villages such as Lena, Pearly City, German Valley and Orangeville host annual community events to bring their residents and visitors together to celebrate their unique theme and heritage.  

Events bring people together. Togetherness creates a bond that radiates shared values, pride and connection. And connection makes people feel like they belong here.  

Also, next time someone tells you there is nothing to do in Freeport and Stephenson County, make sure to sign them up for the ALL IN Stephenson County Events Guide or to download our Greater Freeport Partnership mobile app. They shouldn’t complain again. 😊

Nicole Haas is the Brand Director at the Greater Freeport Partnership. She can be reached at